Shaving with acne: A grüum guide
If you’re prone to acne as so many of us are, shaving can be a bit of a nightmare. If you go about it the wrong way, shaving with acne can lead to… more acne. As well as some serious facial discomfort.
Essentially, what you’re trying to avoid when shaving with acne is the spreading of bacteria. Your skin’s in a vulnerable position during a shave, and teams of bacteria are ready and willing to take advantage of that. But don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to keep them at bay.
We’ll also be addressing the common misconception that all of the oil on your face is formed by the devil and should therefore be exorcised (not true!)... In fact, if you dry out your skin too much, your body will react by producing more oil to rehydrate it - it’s a vicious cycle. It’s much better to find the balance, instead of swaying between extremes.
Things to avoid when shaving with acne
- A shaving brush - Though it might look nice sitting next to your taps, it’s a surefire way to spread around unwanted bacteria.
- Aftershave - It can be tempting to slap on some nice smelling stuff post shave but bare in mind, products with a high alcohol content can dry out your skin and sting.
- Soap - Also dries out the skin - a gentle face wash is a much smarter option.
Things that will come in useful for shaving with acne
- A freshly washed towel and/or flannel - Avoid the spreading of bacteria by using a fresh towel or flannel each time you shave.
- A decent razor - We’d recommend our oska 3 blade razor. It’s important you make sure its sharp, as blunt blades can cause irritation.
- A smooth shaving gel that is kind to your skin - Avoid shaving gel with alcohol in it. Ours is alcohol-free and contains eucalyptus oil which is a natural antiseptic.
- Alcoholic disinfectant - It’s not for your face, don’t worry.
- Gentle Exfoliating Face wash - Our kóri exfoliating face wash will lift your facial hair for a smoother shave, whilst still being kind to your skin.
- Facial toner/tonic - Closes up your pores once the job is done to prevent bacteria causing more trouble.
- Moisturiser - Gives you some much needed soothing action post-shave. Take Kare of yourself.
In general, try to avoid whiteheads while shaving. It sounds obvious, but it’s always best to advise against this as it can really mess things up bacteria-wise and even cause scarring. If you’ve got some extreme whiteheads threatening to burst while you shave, it might be best to deal with them beforehand. But please be careful as popping your spots can just encourage bacteria to spread, so make sure you do it carefully - here is a guide conveniently covering this issue.
Open those pores
Before a shave, you’ll want soft facial hair and open, clear pores (this is even more important when you're shaving with acne). You’ve got a couple of options here. Firstly, you can simply hop in a hot shower and give your face a gentle cleanse with your exfoliating wash as the steam gloriously opens up your pores. Or, if you’d like to really go the extra mile, give yourself the classic hot-towel treatment. Grab a clean flannel or small towel, soak that rascal in hot water and drape it over your face. Sit back and relax for a few minutes while your pores open up more than a well read book.
Tip: Though it is important to remove dead skin cells and bacteria pre-shave, there’s no need to be aggressive about it. You don’t want any hardcore scrubbing, It’ll only aggravate things.
Don't neglect the neck
Your neck carries your head around all day and deserves just as much attention, if not more than your face. So take some time to prep your neck as well. Open up those pores and cleanse gently.
Get yourself a soothing shaving gel, and layer it on. The aim is to create a protective, conditioning barrier between the skin and the razor. Remember, you’re not using a shaving brush - just wash your hands thoroughly and apply with your fingers.
Go with the grain
When you shave, go with the grain. Follow your hair in the direction it grows. Going against the grain will not only irritate the skin, but can also cut the hair a bit too short, leading to ingrown hairs and further discomfort.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, literally. Let the razor glide over your face. Pressing down is not going to do you any favours - this is why it’s so important to use a sharp blade.
Regularly rinse your razor
(A nice bit of alliteration there) Rinse your razor under the hot water tap throughout the shave, and of course afterwards, to make sure you're not spreading anything unwanted around your mug. If you pop a pimple with your razor, rinse immediately - it’s best to rinse under hot, running water. If there’s any bleeding, make sure this is cleaned up before continuing. A styptic stick might come in handy if you want to stop the bleeding fast.
After shaving, disinfect the razor with alcoholic disinfectant. Be sure to rinse afterwards so that no rust forms.
When you’ve finished shaving, you'll probably find a thin layer of shaving gel still hugging your face - don’t just wipe this off with your towel, instead, rinse your face thoroughly (but gently) with some warm water to avoid the residue clogging your pores.
Straight after, rinse your fresh face with cool water to close up those pores. A toner/tonic will also help to seal things up - ours includes witch hazel; a naturally soothing ingredient which promotes healing and reduces inflammation. When you’re all done, finish things off by gently moisturising your face. If possible, don’t shave too often. Give your skin the rest it deserves.